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Mobile Crisis Outreach FAQs

CommUnity Mobile Crisis Outreach is a service that provides free crisis counseling to individuals in Iowa. Services are available in Johnson and Iowa Counties. Mobile Crisis counselors respond to mental health emergencies to provide resources and emotional support. We compiled a list of frequently asked questions to explain some of the details of how the program works.

  • How do I access Mobile Crisis?
    Call dispatch at 1-855-581-8111 and ask to speak with Mobile Crisis
  • What is Mobile Crisis?
    Mobile crisis is a professional mental health crisis response team that is able to meet with people in crisis anywhere in the community.
  • When is Mobile Crisis Available?
    24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays
  • How long will it take for counselors to arrive?
    Counselors arrive within 60 minutes of being dispatched.
  • How many counselors will be coming?
    2 Counselors will arrive.
  • Who can call for Mobile Crisis?
    Anyone can call for Mobile Crisis. Examples are: clients, family/friends, agencies, schools, law enforcement.
  • Where can Mobile Crisis meet with someone?
    Counselors can meet with someone anywhere in the community including homes, public places, agencies, schools, etc.
  • What is the cost of Mobile Crisis?
    Mobile Crisis is free. This service is paid for by the East Central Region.
  • How old do you have to be to utilize Mobile Crisis?
    Mobile Crisis can work with any age. If the individual is under 18, we need a parent/guardian’s permission.
  • What are the benefits of Mobile Crisis?
     Meets with the client where they are
    ○ Staff are trained to de-escalate mental health crises and provide support
     Connects to community resources
     Reduces family burden
     Often preferred over hospitalization
    ○ Can reduce unnecessary arrests
    Can help assess for placement at a Crisis Stabilization Bed which provides space and respite for people to relax after a crisis and come up with next steps to aid in their long-term well being
  • When is it appropriate to call for Mobile Crisis?
    ○ When someone is in mental health or emotional distress
    ○ When they don’t need immediate medical care
    ○ When the scene is safe, no active violence, no weapons are present or available
    ○ When the person is willing to talk
  • When should I NOT call for Mobile Crisis?
    ○ If the person has already done something to hurt themselves
    ○ If the person needs immediate medical attention
    ○ If there is active violence or are weapons involved
    ○ If the person does not want to talk to counselors
  • What if the person in crisis does not want to talk to a counselor?
    Mobile Crisis would not be appropriate, unless there are family members involved who are willing to work with the counselors on their distress.
  • Should I call if the person is intoxicated?
    We can meet with someone is intoxicated, but if the individual cannot participate in a conversation due to their intoxication, or if they are being violent due to their intoxication, then it would not be appropriate.
  • What will happen after I call the dispatch number?
    ○ Dispatchers will ask for some information
     Dispatch will call the counselors
     A counselor will call back for more information and to give an approximate ETA
     Counselors will arrive on scene
  • What information will the counselors want to know?
    ○ Name of client and person calling dispatch
     Phone numbers
     Response location
     Reason for the dispatch
     Who is at the response location?
     Is it safe?
     Can the person remain safe until the counselors arrive?
  • Do I have to stay on scene until the counselors arrive?
    Referral sources do not have to stay on scene if it is determined that the client can stay safe until counselors arrive.
  • What happens when the counselors arrive?
    ○ If referral source stays on scene, counselors will check in with the referral source
    ○ Introduction to client
    ○ Description of the role of Mobile Crisis
    ○ Counselor will provide crisis intervention
  • What do the counselors do during the crisis intervention?
     Counselors will spend time talking with you about what’s been going on.
    ○ They’ll work with you to put together a plan for moving forward.
    ○ Counselors will answer questions you might have about what you’re experiencing.
    ○ You can expect counselors to be supportive and not tell you what to do or how to feel.
    ○ Counselors will work with you to figure out ways to help you feel safer.
    ○ They might ask whether or not further support would be helpful through our follow-up service.
  • What is follow-up?
    ○ Counselors will call the client within 1 business day of a crisis dispatch
    ○ They will assess the client’s continued needs and safety
    ○ Provide referrals to ongoing supports and resources in the community
    ○ Intended to help prevent the client from going back into crisis
  • What types of crises can the counselors respond to?
    ○ Thoughts of suicide
    ○ Depression
    ○ Anxiety
    ○ Psychosis
    ○ PTSD
    ○ Parent/Child Conflict
    ○ Partner Conflict
    ○ Dual Diagnosis
    ○ Emotional Distress
  • What if I don’t want to talk to someone in person?
    You can call or text CommUnity’s crisis line at 1-855-325-4296 or chat at to speak with a counselor virtually.